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Tropical Astrology-Seasonal or Non-Seasonal?
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Mark
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Posted: Fri Feb 12, 2010 8:24 pm    Post subject: Tropical Astrology-Seasonal or Non-Seasonal? Reply with quote

Recently I was discussing astrology with a sceptic. He made the common argument used by astronomers about the tropical zodiac being 'out of place' with the fixed stars. I therefore explained how the tropical zodiac was seasonal and how it was calculated from the position of the Sun in relation to the ecliptic. I made the point that while it could be argued the tropical zodiac was no longer linked to the original stars and constellations the sidereal zodiac was no longer linked with the seasonal equinoxes and Solstices.

I went away fairly happy with myself. However, if this sceptic had been better informed he could have used another good follow up argument. In particular he could have argued...
Q: 'You claim the tropical zodiac is seasonal yes'? ..
A: Correct
Q' Then tell me why astrologers in the southern hemisphere use the same zodiac even though the seasons are reversed?'

I am not necessarily wanting to get into the debate about tropical vs sidereal zodiacs or the issue of whether the tropical zodiac should be reversed in the southern hemisphere. I am not having doubts about the tropical zodiac or retaining the usual zodiac for southern hemisphere charts. In my experiece it works ok. Its just logicaly defending this I find awkward!
So are we western astrologers using the tropical zodiac trying to have our cake and eat it? We argue the direct connection between the signs and seasons when it suits us and declare this as inessential when it doesn't fit?

Are we guilty of hypocrisy? Are we being logically inconsistent? Does this confirm that astrology is fundamentally irrational? Or should we simply see it as a 'lunar art' that does not fit neatly into our over rational systematizing?

I accept even in the southern hemisphere the connection to the Equinoxes and Solstices is not lost. However, the traditional linkage between the signs and seasons is. I would welcome any comments on this. How do you resolve this potential paradox? Do astrologers put too much emphasis on the seasons to explain the tropical zodiac or is that an oxymoron?

Mark
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Posted: Fri Feb 12, 2010 9:03 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The way I see it the Sun at 0 Aries doesn't just mean 'spring', but 'Spring', maybe even 'Springness'. Since the tropical zodiac concerns signs rather than constellations it has become – I'll use the word I can't claim to understand well – archetypal. The tropical has disengaged from the sidereal and become its own freestanding symbolic system reflecting archetypal realities (I wish I knew for sure what I was talking about).

The tropical signs do not consist of stars, but Stars. As a physically or materially nonexistent group the signs don't come down to, affect and enter us but, rather, we approach and enter them and their reality, participating therein. Once this realm of the signs was formed and entered the collective consciousness the matter of which hemisphere of Earth you're located in became irrelevant.

Those of you who are philosophically more sophisticated could do a much better job with this than I. Confused



A die-hard dry scientific mind still isn't going to be comfortable with it. Smile
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Mark
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Posted: Sat Feb 13, 2010 12:55 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi Kirk,

Quote:
The way I see it the Sun at 0 Aries doesn't just mean 'spring', but 'Spring', maybe even 'Springness'. Since the tropical zodiac concerns signs rather than constellations it has become – I'll use the word I can't claim to understand well – archetypal. The tropical has disengaged from the sidereal and become its own freestanding symbolic system reflecting archetypal realities (I wish I knew for sure what I was talking about).


That seems a reasonable way round it. If I am honest though I am guilty of slipping into the 'seasonal' mind set quite a bit. For example I was explaining the traditional rulerships to someone the other night and made the point that it was appropriate that the Saturn ruled signs were in the depth of winter. Contrasting this to the summer signs Leo and Cancer ruled by the luminaries.

Of course that kind of analogy falls apart if your working in the Southern Hemisphere. Its hard to avoid seeing tropical astrology as an exclusive construct of northern hemisphere assumptions by suggesting a seasonal links to the signs. Ptolemy seems to support such thinking in the Tetrabiblos. As he single handedly originated tropical astrology that is surely pause for thought?

However, as you suggest maybe its just a case of taking symbolism too literally.
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dr. farr



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Posted: Sat Feb 13, 2010 4:09 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

In my way of looking at this (very important) question, I simply make the connection with the angles (equinoxes and solstices) as geometrical points of space and not with seasonal (actually weather-type) qualities ascribed to those points. In sum, I look at the signs as primary (fundamental) descriptives of the qualities of the directions of the pleroma of space, and only relatively (secondarily, proximately) as descriptive of seasonal qualities, this latter function dependant entirely upon the relavant area (northern or southern hemisphere) specifically under consideration.

(Side note: While I am a tropicalist, and while I always apply the Aries-to-Pisces order of signs in practical astrological work, on a metaphysical level I follow Mathers in regarding Leo as the origin point of the zodiac, and I regard Capricorn as the astrological "beginning of the year" )
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PFN



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Posted: Sat Feb 13, 2010 7:43 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Well, I live in Brasil and here we have only two seasons: summer and winter Tongue Out .
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Posted: Sat Feb 13, 2010 11:28 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
In sum, I look at the signs as primary (fundamental) descriptives of the qualities of the directions of the pleroma of space, and only relatively (secondarily, proximately) as descriptive of seasonal qualities, this latter function dependant entirely upon the relavant area (northern or southern hemisphere) specifically under consideration.


Confused . . .

Archetypes, anyone? Confused . . . Springness is looking better all the time.








Laughing
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pankajdubey



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Posted: Sat Feb 13, 2010 12:03 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Idea
The seasonal cycle of each hemisphere starts when the Sun turns back on itself towards equator.
Tropos = A turning point; a limit, a boundary

-and the season changes at each cardinal sign.

Lastly, just because the sceptic went away without asking any further questions does not mean he was either impressed or converted Smile

PD
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johannes susato



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Posted: Sat Feb 13, 2010 12:43 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

PFN wrote:
Well, I live in Brasil and here we have only two seasons: summer and winter Tongue Out .

Only a short in between question to you, PFN:
Are the meanings of the signs (in personal charts) in Brasil contrariwise to those of the northern hemisphere? To be very short (too short of course, but in this context it may be allowed) Virgo 'tidy', Pisces 'chaotic'?

Thanks in advance.
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Mark
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Posted: Sat Feb 13, 2010 1:48 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
Are the meanings of the signs (in personal charts) in Brasil contrariwise to those of the northern hemisphere? To be very short (too short of course, but in this context it may be allowed) Virgo 'tidy', Pisces 'chaotic'?


This topic has come up a few times here on skyscript. I believe the early modern astrologers Campanella and Cardano suggested reversing the signs and/or dignities.

However, the overwhelming majority of astrologers seem to agree the traditional order and meanings work. Our Brazilian moderator Yuzuru certainly upholds this view as did our late Australian moderator Sue Toohey. I know Deborah Houlding has done a lot of horary 'down under' and has not reversed the signs or dignities. This seems to be the experience of all the southern hemisphere astrologers I have discussed this with too. Having looked at lots of charts myself now it does seem to work. One example I like to use is the pop singer Kylie Minogue who has a chart clustered with planets in Gemini using the normal approach. As a friend once said 'If this woman was a stick of rock it would say Gemini down the middle' . Its just as well as we would get into an awful mess with equatorial charts. The sceptics (and siderealists) would have a field day making fun of those kinds of charts.

Mark
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Mark
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Posted: Sat Feb 13, 2010 2:02 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
The seasonal cycle of each hemisphere starts when the Sun turns back on itself towards equator. Tropos = A turning point; a limit, a boundary -and the season changes at each cardinal sign.


Yes I acknowledged that point in my original post. The link between these key seasonal shifts is retained. Its just that they are not the same seasons!

Quote:
Lastly, just because the sceptic went away without asking any further questions does not mean he was either impressed or converted


Of course! I wasn't really hoping to convert him. I just wanted to make the most intelligent, well thought out defence of astrology I could. I still do...keep your suggestions coming folks.

This subject has always intrigued me. Perhaps because I was born on Australia day (Jan 26th) and the fact I was nearly born there. Sitting through my grey gloomy winter birthday here in Scotland I envy those Australians born at the same time who can hold a birthday celebration in the burning hot summer sun. Thumbs up If astrology is about bringing the celestial down to the terrestrial its seems odd that such a fundamental difference is not reflected in a chart.
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Eddy



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Posted: Sat Feb 13, 2010 2:41 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

dr. farr wrote:
In my way of looking at this (very important) question, I simply make the connection with the angles (equinoxes and solstices) as geometrical points of space and not with seasonal (actually weather-type) qualities ascribed to those points.
I agree with this geometrical point of view. And I would go even further. I think there's no real difference between 0°Aries and 0° Libra as geometric points. Therefore I don't use zodiac signs, but I consider the equinoctical points as a sort of nodes (of which 0°Libra would be the north node) and important as reference point for transits and synastry. Perhaps aspects of planets to the equinoxes have some meaning too.

Since I further believe that the rulerships of the signs are related to north hemisphere issues I'd say they would 'flip over' in Australia. However on the equator none of these would apply. One could go for the Tetrabiblos I.19 ( http://www.reocities.com/astrologysources/classicalgreece/tetrabiblos/tetrabiblosbooki.htm#side19 ) climatological view but even the north hemisphere has so much differences that Ptolemy's explanations wouldn't count in Iceland for example. If climate is significant then another view could be that every area has different zodiac meanings according to the local climate, like more Saturn in the zodiac in cold areas and Sun and Mars in hot and dry areas. However as the changes throughout the year gradually change I would rather see a gradually change between (rulerships of) signs than strict boundaries in sectors of 30°

A while ago I had some thoughts on the origin of exaltations in this thread: http://skyscript.co.uk/forums/viewtopic.php?t=4554 I don't have any proof for this hypothesis but I think that this is somewhat how the Babylonians might have seen it. Put very briefly, I think they give their planet-gods places in the sky according to the characteristics of the gods (e.g. Jupiter/Marduk as the highest god, the highest position in the sky thus exaltation in Cancer) Yet still this explanation would be a northern hemisphere explanation and in this view a cultural/religious artefact. A difference with the Ptolemy view is that the climatological view is mainly focussed on the Sun's position. The Sun's meaning in relation with the seasons is mainly in height above the horizon. The higher the Sun the warmer. If I'm correct in the analysis of the Babylonian view then that meaning mainly depends on the duration or arc above (and below) the horizon.

[quote=Mark C"]I am not having doubts about the tropical zodiac or retaining the usual zodiac for southern hemisphere charts. In my experiece it works ok. Its just logicaly defending this I find awkward![/quote]Then the support of this standpoint should not lie in the seasonal/climatological view. I once read somewhere that Morin de Villefranche had another explanation rather than the climatological one. He saw the 30° sectors as backgrounds in the highest sphere around Earth and therefor affecting every place on Earth similarly. It should be noted that Morin didn't believe the Copernican heliocentric view which would make his view untenable. Perhaps an adapted view could be that the 'effects' from the zodiac 'radiate' from the inner of the Earth to the surface. I consider the ecliptic is not 'up there' in the sky but rather in the center of the earth in the combined movements of diurnal equatorial rotation and precession. But this definition is rather how I would see it. (A bit more on the definitions in a post I wrote here at Thu Jan 14, 2010 8:06 pm http://www.skyscript.co.uk/forums/viewtopic.php?t=5060&sid=6984e0b0fc6c583f8d66dfba556e3301 )

Still a difficult matter though. Perhaps the differences aren't that strict and there could be combined causes, a seasonal one, a symbolical one, geometrical etc.
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Mark
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Posted: Sat Feb 13, 2010 3:07 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi Eddy,

Thanks for your post.Always thought provoking and informative.

Quote:
I agree with this geometrical point of view. And I would go even further. I think there's no real difference between 0°Aries and 0° Libra as geometric points. Therefore I don't use zodiac signs, but I consider the equinoctical points as a sort of nodes (of which 0°Libra would be the north node) and important as reference point for transits and synastry. Perhaps aspects of planets to the equinoxes have some meaning too.


Well this certainly removes the problem. Although the price you pay is rather high...the tropical zodiac itself! I know you firmly follow Kepler and a more limited mathematical approach.

Quote:
Since I further believe that the rulerships of the signs are related to north hemisphere issues I'd say they would 'flip over' in Australia. However on the equator none of these would apply


The idea of reversing or flipping over the dignities or signs is an interesting theoretical point. For various reasons though I think this is an unattractive proposition. The idea of the Sun ruling Aquarius and Saturn being in detriment there plays havoc with traditional understanding of the signs and their linkage to planets.

From all accounts horary still seems to work just as well in the southern hemisphere according to its practitioners. As its so related to planetary strength that rather undermines the case made by Cardano and more recently Maurice McCann.

The idea of reversing signs, as suggested by Campanella and Cardano, is superficially attractive but gets into major problems with equatorial charts. We also have the same objection that the 'normal' arrangement of signs seems to work perfectly well. One would think that practitioners would have detected that an exalted Moon in Taurus (Northern hemisphere) would be more like a debilitated in Scorpio and not operate smoothy (Southern hemisphere). However, southern hemisphere practitioners report the contrary. The traditional associations still seem accurate.

We could of course suggest that southern hemisphere practitoners are misguided and deluded by a northern hemisphere paradigm. In which they are particularly inept for getting it 'wrong' all this time and not even noticing! However, that seems an arrogant approach to adopt. I think we need to respect their feedback and extensive experience working in this way.

As I see it these suggestions lead to a total shambles theoretically. Moreover, what is suggested by Cardano/Gauricus is simply not reflected in the actual experience of astrologers in the southern hemisphere. Another beautiful theory ruled out by empiricism I would suggest.

Quote:
A while ago I had some thoughts on the origin of exaltations in this thread: http://skyscript.co.uk/forums/viewtopic.php?t=4554 I don't have any proof for this hypothesis but I think that this is somewhat how the Babylonians might have seen it.


I hate to steal your thunder Eddy but this theory has been around for a while. For example Gavin White mentions it in his book 'Babylonian Star Lore'. The link between the Exaltations and the seasons is suggested by Ulla Koch-Westenholz in her book Mesopotamian Astrology: Introduction to Babylonian and Assyrian Celestial Divination (1995). However, she didn't originate the hypothesis and was merely referencing older research.
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dr. farr



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Posted: Sun Feb 14, 2010 4:48 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

In my simplistic view I regard the divisions of space (ie, the signs) as the "curtains" of the earth, through which all cosmic influence is filtered; each "curtain" (division of space; sign) has certain intrinsic characteristic qualities, the various planetary and stellar influences being modulated by the intrinsic characteristics of each "curtain" those influences "pass through". See, in my outlook, I consider that space (meaning relative space from one's point on the earth) is qualitative in fundamental nature, just as I believe that time (relative "sections" of time) have specific qualities, as well as "things-in-space" (stars-including the sun-and planets) also having specific qualities, and that at any given moment at any specific place on the globe, this trinity is operative on all levels (physical fields, dynamic fields, spiritual/symbolical fields). In addition to the this outlook, I also follow Paracelsus in his understanding that the stars, signs and planets we see are merely reflections and "objective indicators" of an interior macrocosmic reality within each living creature, these "objective indicators" pointing to the "trend" and "direction" of the "movements" of this universal interior reality, at any given moment of time.
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Eddy



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Posted: Sun Feb 14, 2010 12:25 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi Mark,

I don't really mind the high price for omitting the zodiac, I find the removing of the problem quite worth it. Note that Kepler still uses the positions of the planets in the zodiac, not in the traditional way but rather the climatological way.

Kepler wrote:
Thesis 33
As to the reason for both the power of heating and that of moistening, one should consider in what (zodiacal) sign the planets are situated. For both the planets and the Moon operate at the maximum in Cancer, as they are then longest above the Earth because of the other reasons mentioned in the beginning when we were dealing with the Sun. So also they have more power when they are in the Northern part. Therefore, the winter full Moons are more humid than the summer full Moons. Thus, in the Northern zones for this year and the following few years the above explained powers of Saturn and Jupiter, nay, even Mars at the end of the year, will be weak because they will be situated in low (zodiacal) signs, but in the Southern zones they will be, in the same measure, stronger.
http://www.hermetics.org/pdf/astrology/Johannes_Kepler_-_Concerning_The_More_Certain_Fundamentals_of_Astrology.pdf

Quote:
The idea of reversing or flipping over the dignities or signs is an interesting theoretical point. For various reasons though I think this is an unattractive proposition. The idea of the Sun ruling Aquarius and Saturn being in detriment there plays havoc with traditional understanding of the signs and their linkage to planets.
Admittedly the flip over makes things more difficult, especially in the equatorial charts as you mentioned some posts ago. In such a case one should almost believe that there would be a 'transitional stage' where both Sun and Saturn, both rule and are in detriment in both Leo and Aquarius.
Mark C wrote:
Its just as well as we would get into an awful mess with equatorial charts. The sceptics (and siderealists) would have a field day making fun of those kinds of charts.
Talking about the siderealists, I think the tropicalists would have the same making fun feeling about the dozens of ayanamsha's all somewhere in Aries so historically inextricably bound with a tropical origin in which precession was unknown and a tropical v.s sidereal discussion didn't exist. Moreover the sidereal signs aren't more real than the tropical http://www2.bitstream.net/~bunlion/bpi/precess4.html . But respecting the purpose of this thread I won't continue on the tropical/sidereal discussion and those who are interested can read this thread http://skyscript.co.uk/forums/viewtopic.php?t=2978 which mentions several differences in the later pages. However if the origins are really northern hemispheric then I would find it hard to accept to use the same in the tropics and southern hemisphere. I once read an explanation in Dane Rudhyar's 'The pulse of life, New Dynamics in Astrology'
Rudhyar wrote:
The Zodiac is the symbolization of the cycle of the year. It is so, essentially, in the temperate regions of the Northern hemisphere where astrology was born. Zodiacal symbolism is the product of the experience of human races living in such regions: experience of the seasons, of the activities of nature and of man through the changing panorama of vegetation — vegetation being the very foundation of animal and human life on earth. As such races have been, during the last millennia, the active factor in the evolution of human consciousness, their experience has come to acquire a universal validity in the determination of cosmic meaning and human purpose. Civilization, as we know it today, is therefore centered in a Northern-hemisphere and temperate-climate kind of consciousness. It may conceivably not remain so in the future, but for the time being it is; and our present astrology interprets thus accurately its cyclic evolution.
I don't really like this explanation, because it's rather western centered and thus a cultural bias. Perhaps this is true though to a certain extent. Kepler mentioned a similar thought:

Kepler wrote:
4-6 In my book, I did indeed challenge the concept that the divisions of the sky into twelve signs and the distribution of the signs among the planets [i.e. as rulers] had some basis in nature. Nevertheless, since the human race has envisioned this partition from the time of the Chaldeans down to our own times, and among all nations, I submitted to the reader's consideration, whether God himself does not conform to it, even though this division is not a natural thing, and whether He does not wish to speak to human beings therewith in a language or method of communication that they understand.
(On the Nova in the Foot of Ophiucus, 1606)
Kenneth G. Negus: Kepler's Astrology
http://cura.free.fr/docum/15kep-en.html §4.6

This could make the signs work everywhere in the same way or perhaps only on people of the Western culture. (White) Australians are Western, they celebrate Chrismas in their Summer etc. and differ much less from European culture than from Aboriginal culture. Perhaps the same would apply to South-Americal culture, many Spanish and Portuguese influences mixed with African and some Indian elements.

Rudhyar (in the quote) leaves the possibility of change in the future. So if the world might be 'China-ized' in a couple of centuries could this mean that all people would fit more in Chinese astrology? If so, this would make astrology more a cultural issue and not a natural. Could be but I don't like it, furthermore I don't like it. It also could mean that one can 'resist' the cultural issue, and also risk to be viewed as 'unadapted' by the mass who are submitted to the culture. I suddenly remember that I once read in a forum about black astrologers who as a counter cultural movement reversed the meanings of astrological issues in the 'usual' (for white people)astrology.

Quote:
I hate to steal your thunder Eddy but this theory has been around for a while. For example Gavin White mentions it in his book 'Babylonian Star Lore'. The link between the Exaltations and the seasons is suggested by Ulla Koch-Westenholz in her book Mesopotamian Astrology: Introduction to Babylonian and Assyrian Celestial Divination (1995). However, she didn't originate the hypothesis and was merely referencing older research.
No problem at all Mark, I'm even glad you mention it. At least it means that my thoughts weren't just fanciful. It occurs more often that people get to the same ideas independently from eachother.

Could you please mention some page numbers/chapters where Gavin White mentions this, Mark? I've found the book on google books (2007, 1st edition) http://books.google.nl/books?id=nAuTreDJKdoC&printsec=frontcover&dq=gavin+white&hl=en&cd=1#v=onepage&q=&f=false and I'd like to know if he found this in some sources in translations of ancient Babylonian clay tablets etc. Then I might be able to search for more in University websites etc.
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margherita



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Posted: Sun Feb 14, 2010 3:23 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Eddy wrote:


This could make the signs work everywhere in the same way or perhaps only on people of the Western culture. (White) Australians are Western, they celebrate Chrismas in their Summer etc. and differ much less from European culture than from Aboriginal culture.


I never saw something more different from my knowledge of reality celebrating Christmas for Summer.

What about the snow, Mary and Joseph searching shelter from the cold, the ox and the donkey warming the Child with their breath?

What it is called Christmas in Australia is something very far from Christmas iconography as an Italian.

Christmas iconography is like astrology, it is something shaped on Europe and Mediterranean area, it's difficult to adapt in other places, and it is evidently based on seasons, because the date was fixed evidently on pagan winter solstice, and the symbolism of the waxing light.

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